Wednesday, November 30, 2005

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Attorney General Abbott Wins Tough Sentences Against Victoria Man For Child Pornography

VICTORIA – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced his Cyber Crimes Unit has obtained tough prison sentences for a Victoria man who was caught with thousands of sexually explicit photos and videos of children, some as young as toddler age.

Rickie Lee Smith, a 50-year-old delivery truck driver, pled guilty on Monday to seven counts of possession of child pornography and 10 counts of child pornography promotion. He received a maximum 10-year sentence for each of the seven possession charges and a 13-year sentence for each of the promotion convictions. All of the sentences will run concurrently. He was also fined $17,000 and ordered to register for life as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

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Rickie Lee Smith

“I am pleased this man will spend a lot of time behind bars for the despicable acts he has committed,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Stockpiling and distributing child pornography is a child sex crime and I will vigorously pursue those who exploit our precious young Texans this way. I also want to thank Victoria County District Attorney Dexter Eaves, who was so helpful to my office in our prosecution of this case.”

After sentencing, Smith was immediately returned to the custody of the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office, which will transfer him to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Smith fled to York, Pa., earlier this year after Cyber Crimes investigators executed a search warrant at his Victoria apartment in January. Police officers in York arrested Smith on April 14 and he was extradited to Texas on May 20. His case was sent to the Attorney General by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which had received the referral from Yahoo.

Promotion of child pornography is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Child pornography possession is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Attorney General Abbott has made cracking down on sexual predators a top priority of his administration. Since he took office in December 2002, his office has obtained convictions against 30 men on child pornography charges and his Cyber Crimes and Fugitive units have arrested almost 360 sexual predators.

The Cyber Crimes Unit, which targets online predators, has made 69 arrests to date. The Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, has arrested more than 250 such offenders. In addition, the Fugitive Unit has arrested 36 unregistered sex offenders as part of Operation Missing Predator, a statewide initiative to locate and arrest convicted sex offenders who are not in compliance with sex offender registration requirements.

For more information, visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011.